PROSPECT BURMA Keeping the Flame of Education Alive
Inside Burma INTENSIVE ENGLISH PROGRAMME Mai Ja Yang Village, Kachin State, Burma BRITISH COUNCIL ENGLISH CLASSES Rangoon, Burma
Prospect Burma was set up in 1989 to help fill the educational vacuum arising from the upheavals of 1988.. We have grown from awarding a solitary scholarship in 1992 to giving almost 150 grants every year. It is a condition of all Prospect Burma scholars that they pledge to return to Burma when feasible and to use the skills they have acquired for the benefit of the Burmese people. Of our 2010 graduates we know that over 75% of them are already either working in Burma or on the borders. Our major contribution inside Burma is, therefore, the work being done by the Prospect Burma alumni who have returned. We are convinced that investing in the education of Burma’s young people will help to bring about positive change in their country.
Prospect Burma Alumni Back Home “I’m working on a Post Nargis response project. The PB Scholarship Programme makes great impact on me and the communities of my country because I can serve my people by applying the knowledge gained from my studies supported by it. During my studies, I had to learn too many social science disciplines such as health sociology, health economics, psychology and anthropology. Moreover, social science perspectives and research methodologies improve my ability to conduct social research. Knowledge gained from those courses help me to accomplish the project planning and implementation successfully. For example, during my study, I had to learn various concepts of social theories which are very useful for finding out and solving of health problems in my communities. The course of health economics is applicable in allocation of funding in my project and I could able to manage the activities against the budget allowed in order to get cost effectiveness. I am very pleased to upgrade my abilities to serve my country ” 2
“Being supported by Prospect Burma has not only been a privilege but also a constant reminder of the ambition and hope that I have for my homeland. I volunteer regularly to translate reports on human rights abuses in rural Burma.”
Since 2004, Prospect Burma has been supporting an Intensive English Programme in Mai Ja Yang on the Burma/China border. Anxious for progress in their communities, this nonâ€“governmental programme was started by local Kachin people who were desperate to upgrade the level of English amongst their youth.
Intensive English Programme Mai Ja Yang
The residential school admits up to 40 students aged between 16 and 23 years old for a ten month course, and has five full time teachers, three computer instructors and administrative staff. The pupils are drawn from all over Kachin state, and include graduates of a local teacher training college whose head teacher was a former Prospect Burma scholar. Having completed their course, over 150 students have gone on to become English teachers throughout Kachin State, some are working for an orphanage in Mai Ja Yang, 15 have joined NGOs, 20 have graduated from Theological Colleges and others have continued their studies abroad. 3
In 2009, the Intensive English Programme moved to share a larger campus with another local institute, but their objectives remain the same: To give Kachin youths intensive English tuition To give students access to the Internet To develop confidence, self-reliance, social responsibility and critical thinking To develop awareness of the environment To benefit their own communities For oral fluency, language activities such as story telling, poetry recitals and English songs have been introduced, and students are encouraged to write journals. Activities include games, morning exercises, and gardeningâ€”over 130 young macadamia trees were planted last year and the school grows its own vegetables. Each student has access to computers three hours a week and the older students have access to the internet. Progress tests are carried out three times during each course and prizes are awarded by the school committee. The committee, which monitors the schoolâ€™s progress, is made up of local authority personnel, members of the Education Department and IEP teaching staff. Prospect Burma receives regular reports from the School Principal, and makes an annual contribution in the region of ÂŁ4,500 towards salaries for the staff.
In 2007, Prospect Burma started to fund Burmese students studying English at The British Council in Rangoon. We are currently funding courses for Burmese students, including former political prisoners, who come from all over Burma. They go on to work in education, medicine, and with local NGOs, some of them apply to us for scholarship grants. Here, two of our students write about themselves.
British Council English Students Rangoon
“I am a 25 year old Muslim girl and I graduated from university in 2005. As soon as I got my degree, I joined a centre for the care of disabled children as a volunteer physiotherapist as I wanted to help people as much as possible and live in an environment that has plenty of peace and pleasure. I also volunteered at a hospital for a year. Later, it became apparent to me that doing community work is a kind of treasure for me. Therefore, I joined several organizations not only in the medical field but also others like doing assessments of monasteries for educational support. Now, I am working as project coordinator of a free healthcare clinic and also helping in a charity education centre that is run by a self help group and especially for English language. I am keen on learning new things. However, I did not have much chance in my childhood as I had to study and learn things by heart according to the education system in our country. The thing that appeals to me about learning at the British Council is that I gain English skills and improve my thinking and communication skills at the same time. Now, I feel confident to speak English with any foreigner . I am also ready to cascade my skills to my community especially for the development of Myanmar.”
“I would like to say thank you that you gave the opportunity to attend the British Council. My knowledge of English has helped me in teaching children and sharing among my colleagues. I am working as a project organiser and my responsibilities include developing education programs for vulnerable children, monastic schools and nunnery schools. I am also in charge of a project for disabled people. I have been doing reading activities and teaching English to blind children for over a year now. I am really interested in doing humanitarian activities and try and become a good community worker.” 5
KNOWLEDGE IS A TREASURE NO ONE CAN STEAL
If you would like to contribute please contact us or see How to Help on our website.
PROSPECT BURMA Keeping the Flame of Education Alive UK Registered charity no 802615
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Working inside Burma